February 19, 2017
SOL 1 : A first step on Mars
Our first evening at the Hab had been festive: Victoria had baked a cake for Louis’ birthday, which occurred a couple days earlier, but which we did not have the time to celebrate. Our two commanders then organized a table tour, letting each one describe what he expected from the mission, what he wished to do here and what he was afraid of. After this long discussion, it was time to go to sleep, except for Louis, who still had to prepare the physical exercises for the next morning.
And these were hard exercises: so hard indeed that Laurent began to feel sick in the middle of the crunchs, and that Gabriel would certainly have vomited if his stomach was not empty, as we even did not take our breakfast yet! While the crew had begun to feel knock-out, breakfast was finally welcomed after such energy usage. Put back in shape, the crew was now able to end the preparation of experiments on the morning, before the first EVA which would occur in the afternoon.
Laurent, Jérémy, Commander Louis and I were the ones to leave the Hab on the afternoon. The EVA had two main purposes: to explore the surroundings of the station, and to find perfect places where we could place Jérémy and Gabriel experiments, as these needed special weather conditions. After having put on our spacesuits, radios and helmets, it was time to say good bye to Victoria, Gabriel and Benoît, and to enter the pressurisation airlock. 3 minutes later we could open the door, and finally discover the Martian landscape. I went down the stairs, and had the luck to be the first one to make a step on this land.
After having accomplished some minor tasks around the Hab, we could ride the rovers to a further land. We stopped at different points along the road, in order to find out the right places to put the measurement instruments for the diverse experiments, and also a mushroom-like rock to show our support to our fellow students of ISAE-SUPAERO which were selected to participate to famous French show “Questions pour un champion”. On the last part of the EVA, we chose to climb up the plateau over the base, in order to get a better view of the base region. And what a view it was, even though I almost lost one of my lungs to get there! As Jeremy took some last pictures, Louis started to struggle finding a way down, and we took a bit more time going back to the rovers.
The EVA was near its end, and we went back to the Hab, freezing cold on our rovers because of the wind. We went back to the airlock, waited for the pressurisation, and could finally come into the Hab, and put off our wet suits. One thing for sure, sleep would not be hard to find after such a tiring day!
Alexandre Martin, Crew 189 Journalist.